Britain’s recently proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill has broken out a state of public outcry across the country. Thousands of citizens amassed on the streets of England and Wales are protesting against the bill.
The policing bill introduced in early March has enraged the masses due to its strict police orders and penalties. According to BBC News, the bill also consisting of sentencing and court reforms will grant police chiefs, the authority to control the start and finish times of protests, noise limits, even with a single person protesting. Jeremy Corbyn, a British politician who served as the leader of the Labour party posted a video on Twitter advocating public protests. “The right to protest is at the heart of a democratic society,” he stated.
Prior to the “kill the bill” protests of this weekend, 26 people were arrested, and 10 officers were injured, amid clashes between the protestors and the police in Central London. Adding to that, five violent protests had transpired in Southwest London, where at least two police vehicles were ignited, as per the Guardian.
The proposed bill also traces us back to the murder of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive from London. Several people were apprehended by the Metropolitan police at a vigil for Everard, for violating the Covid-19 guidelines. Such incidents have angered the public, thus, raising questions on the functioning of the police.
In recent controversies, Britain had also witnessed a wave of the Black Lives Matter movement where the demonstrators protested acts of police brutality and racism. According to Reuters, the protestors pulled down a statue of Edward Colston, a 17th Century slave trader, and dumped it in the harbor. Adding to that, they also graffitied the statue of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The provisions of the policing bill also institute a punishment of 10 years in prison for acts of vandalism and protest. Followed by this provision, the protestors rallied with signs saying, “10 years for protest, 5 years for rape” to mark the flaw of the policing bill.
In the face of the vehement protests and objection, the bill has still gained ground in the UK parliament with the support of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. According to the Guardian, the bill has cleared its first vote in the House of Commons in March.
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